Culture / Sporting Life

Deshaun Watson Lives His Best Life — Wild Birthday Party, Jalen Ramsey Hang and 400-Yard Games

Texans QB is no Peyton Manning — and That's Beautiful

BY // 10.07.19

Deshaun Watson isn’t a full corporate quarterback yet. Hopefully, he never will be. Watson is no Peyton Manning, who only shows personality when someone is paying him to have one.

No, Watson still just lives his best life. Which means being himself, not what anyone else wants him to be. You can see this in how Watson enjoys an anything but buttoned up birthday party.You can also see it in Watson coming back on the field to work with his personal quarterback coach Quincy Avery for hours after that disappointing 16-10 loss to Carolina.

And of course, frustrated, trade-demanding Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey wants to hang out with Watson when he happens to have to come to Houston to see a back specialist.

Watson is both the coolest quarterback you’ve ever known (with apologies to Patrick Mahomes). And one of the NFL’s most dedicated and determined QBs.

All those sides are on display in the Houston Texans’ 53-32 sprint past Atlanta in a Week 5 game that Bill O’Brien couldn’t stomach the possibility of losing. Not with Bob McNair being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor at halftime.

Maybe, it’s no coincidence that O’Brien let Watson be bold.

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The result? There are still some Falcons defensive backs who aren’t quite sure what number Will Fuller wears. This is what happens when an NFL receiver becomes the type of blur small town cops hiding behind billboards see.

“The biggest thing,” Watson says in his interview podium session. “We were just out there having fun. We were all on the same page. We were all confident every time we stepped on the field.

“I feel we have to have that positive energy and positive mentality every week.”

No one in the NFL (with the exception of perhaps Mahomes, who Watson faces off against next Sunday) can impact his team’s mood quite like Deshaun Watson. When he is running around, flinging the ball deep, going for big plays at every opportunity, the Texans are one of the most rollicking, fun shows in all of sports.

Magic Johnson once led an NBA offense like this.

No NFL team comes close to putting on a more exciting display this Sunday. Certainly not the Chiefs who manage only 13 points in a home loss to Indianapolis. Watson becomes only the third quarterback in league history to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating.

There is just something about Houston athletes and history this weekend. (See Cole, Gerrit.)

Many crazy yardage quarterback games come when the QB’s team is trailing big and there is a frantic need to play catch up. Watson throws for 426 yards in a game in which the Texans never let up control.

The guy who assigned himself extra homework last week — essentially denying himself a postgame meal with the fervor of a reality show producer running a desert island show — put up those five touchdown passes in a game where he only recorded five total incompletions.

“Says he’s good,” O’Brien says when asked about that stat. “Says he’s good.”

It’s a good day to be a Texan. Or a Bill O’Brien believer. Or just a Houston sports fan in general.

There is J.J. Watt breaking out Alex Bregman’s home run celebration after a sack. There is tight end Darren Fells holding the ball up high, out of the reach of Atlanta’s desperate lunging defensive backs, like an adult playing keep away with kids at recess. There is Will Fuller making it look like he’s back in high school with 14 catches for 217 yards.

Fuller’s last 200 yard game? In high school, when he racked up 272 yards against some overmatched foes stressed about algebra class.

A McNair Moment

In the middle of it all, the man who brought NFL football back to Houston is inducted into the Team’s Ring of Honor. Janice McNair, Cal McNair and Hannah McNair sit side by side, next to Andre Johnson, on the field for the halftime moment. A gaggle of McNair grandkids are there too.

October 6 will now forever be known as Founder’s Day by the team and McNair’s memory will live on in a painting of him and Janice that was unveiled by none other than Johnson, the first real Texans’ star. “Bob would have been so thrilled with this wonderful honor and sharing it with Andre,” Janice McNair says.

It’s a sweet, classy moment that is anything but overblown.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t think about him or wish he was still with us,” Cal McNair tells the crowd.

Inside Deshaun Watson’s Birthday Fun

Deshaun Watson enjoyed the heck out of his 24th birthday party the night after the Texans beat the Jaguars a few weeks ago. This included getting the type of gifts that an athlete three years removed from college should be receiving. A platinum DW4 chain worth $25,000 included.

He celebrated with teammates DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Nick Martin and Andre Johnson, the rare guy who can both honor the McNairs and party with Watson. He celebrated with rappers (MC Beezy held court) and women in sparkling dresses.

Watson’s agent David Mulugheta, who also happens to rep Ramsey, was also there for a two-tiered night that included a seated dinner for 45 at River Oaks District’s Bisou and an after-1o-pm followup that pushed the crowd closer to a 100.

(For an inside look at the party, click through the exclusive photo gallery above and below this story.)

This is how a 24-year-old pro athlete should party for his birthday.

It’s refreshing to see Watson just doing his own thing. Breaking down defensive looks in his press conferences with the type of detailed explanations that Bill Belichick uses to describe special teams play from the 1940s. Breaking out and having fun in the city after a win.

May the Texans quarterback never change. The world doesn’t need another Peyton Manning. Or Russell Wilson. It needs the first Deshaun.

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